Northern California business voices of the pandemic: MarinHealth Medical Center Emergency Department
The Business Journal talked with Jessica Gonzalez-Romero, clinical nurse manager, MarinHealth Medical Center Emergency Department.
How have the past two years changed you, personally and professionally?
Leaving my family at home while they were on lockdown to face the unknown world of this pandemic was difficult and has changed me. I had the full support of my family but it didn’t make the morning goodbyes any easier.
The biggest change now is that my family has grown stronger and more resilient. We have a deeper understanding for each other. We also learned more about gratitude and grace — being grateful for what we have, regardless of the circumstances, and showing grace to each other even when kindness may be lacking.
Professionally, the last two years have changed my perspective on the power of a team. As a team, nursing leadership met together to create protocols and policies that were dynamic and ever changing. As a team, we worked to share knowledge with staff and displayed true collaboration.
Looking back now, I am surprised at the tenacity of the team to come together in spite of fear and doubt, and work toward creating a safe, stable environment for staff. The team worked seamlessly and with a fierceness that made me proud and humbled to be a colleague amongst them.
What was your worst fear, and did it materialize?
To be honest, I do not know if during the last two years I had one particular fear. I was so hyper-focused on making sure staff felt safe and supported, I did not have room in my brain for fear. I will say that I was worried for staff and patient well-being and continue to be. I certainly think that my worries have materialized in some ways.
Hospital staff are still faced with issues related to the pandemic, and moral and individual well-being have been impacted. I think hospital leadership truly has done its best to help mitigate the risks and suffering for staff.
However, the truth is hospital staff suffered greatly during this pandemic for many reasons, most of which was nothing anyone had control over. My hope is that time will continue to heal the wounds of the negative impacts caused by the pandemic and result in people who are more resilient, grateful and kind to each other.
Are there any ‘lessons learned’ that will change how you approach your work going forward?
I think the biggest lesson learned that will change how I approach my work going forward is making sure I practice gratitude and grace with every step I take in my career. It may sound cliché but the truth is this pandemic caused a lot of heartache and fear and I refuse to allow it to negatively impact me forever.
There are probably 100 negative outcomes of this pandemic for every one positive outcome, and many may even be surprised to find one. However, we as humans need to focus on what is good even amidst all the bad. I hope to face my work with a new perspective that enables me to be the leader my team needs and the leader patients deserve.